Sam Berns: Funeral held for inspirational teenager with an ageing disorder

Well-wishers queued outside to pay their respects at the temple where the 17-year-old was laid to rest

17-year-old Sam Berns, who lived with a rare genetic condition that accelerates the ageing process, has been laid to rest in his home-city of Boston, US.

Berns died on Friday after complications from Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, commonly known as progeria. His death was confirmed by the Progeria Research Foundation, that was established by his parents.

A private funeral was held on Tuesday morning at Temple Israel in Sharon, Massachusetts.

The temple’s car park filled up quickly and a large line of people wanting to pay their respects to Berns formed outside, according to local news outlet Foxborough Patch

Diagnosed with progeria at 22 months, Berns outlived the 13-years expected for suffers of the disease.

Those with the condition experience musculoskeletal degeneration, cardiovascular problems and other symptoms associated with ageing.

His parents, doctors Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns, founded their non-profit organisation to provide more information and research on the condition which is little understood.

Their work was featured in the US documentary Life According to Sam, which brought greater attention to the condition.

 

However, the teenager did not let the disease define him, and encouraged others to live with a positive mentality, something he stressed during his talk at the TEDxMidAtlantic conference last autumn. 

He told the audience that while he was promoting his programme he was asked by a journalist: “What is the most important thing people should know about you?” to which he replied “I have a very happy life.”

“Even though there are many obstacles in my life, with a lot of them being created by progeria, I don’t want people to feel bad for me. I don’t think about these obstacles all the time and I’m able to overcome most of them anyway,” he said.

He concluded the talk by saying: “All in all I don’t waste energy feeling bad for myself, I surround myself with people that I want to be with, and I keep moving forward.

"So with this philoshopy I hope that all of you, regardless of your obstacles, can have a very happy life as well.”

Owner of the New England Patriots American football team, Robert Kraft, mourned Berns’ death.

He said that he had invited the teen to be the team's honorary captain for Saturday night’s playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts and was looking forward to spending time with the teenager and his family.

“I loved Sam Berns and am richer for having known him,” Kraft said in a statement on Saturday.

Berns, a sports fan who was invited to a Patriots practice in October, gave the players an impromptu motivational speech, the Boston Globe reported.

When asked to name his favorite player, he said he didn't have one because it takes a team to succeed.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism